FREE4ARTS may be the most Nordic-sounding group of Polish, Copenhagen-based prolific trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski. The quartet features colleagues from the musicians-run collective and record label Barefoot Records including baritone saxophonist Sven Dam Meinild, who also plays in Dąbrowski international quartet Ocean Fanfare, and drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen, who collaborated before with Dąbrowski in the Polish-Danish trio Hunger Pangs. Pianist Jacob Anderskov, in his first recorded collaboration with Dąbrowski, recorded a fine duet with Christiansen, Chroma (Barefoot Records, 2014).
This quartet of forward-thinking musicians enable Dąbrowski to offer a rich, multi-layered vision that encompasses modern jazz, European avant-garde and third-stream jazz, Polish and Slavic folk elements and even Tibetan chants. Dąbrowski wrote all the compositions for the quartet debut, having in mind these specific musicians opinionated and thoughtful voices. The sound of this quartet stresses a strong sense of space, subtlety and contemplative tone, at times close to the aesthetics of many ECM releases by Nordic outfits.
FREE4ARTS sketches a well-balanced interplay, firmly based on the solid yet driving pulse of Christiansen, alone with no bass. Anderskov outlines the course with wise, skeletal touches, and these two allow Dąbrowski and Meinild to soar, and gel their voices in a dense, melodic interplay, beautifully articulated on "Dan." But even in the open-ended, spare pieces like "Ten Drops" and "Flip and Reverse," both feature the quartet in its searching phase, it flirts with melodic themes. The more experimental pieces that borrow elements from the third-stream aesthetics as "I Made It to Ordea" and "Heavy Ah" offer an intriguing sense of order and structure, both highlight the strong, almost telepathic interplay of Dąbrowski and Meinild.
An impressive debut by an excellent quartet that only began to explore its great potential.
Six Months; Dan; Ten Drops; I Made It to Oradea; Flip and Reverse;
Heavy Ah; Five Weeks.
Tomasz Dąbrowski: trumpet, mutes; Sven Dam Meinild: baritone sax;
Jacob Anderskov: grand piano; Kasper Tom Christiansen: drums.
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